Family History Friday: School Records

Children playing at Snapethorpe Infants School, Lupset. From

School records, as you’d imagine, can be a good source for learning about your ancestor’s education. However they will probably also provide you with information about day to day school life, as well as specific information about pupils. So they’ll often include information about outbreaks of sickness, local and national events and the recruitment of teachers. If they have survived, most school records are available only at local archives.

Find My Past
National School Admission Registers & Log-books 1870 – 1914 |
With over 7 million records transcribed, Find My Past is probably a good place to start. Discover your ancestors who went to school in England and Wales between 1870 and 1914. Explore their school records to find their birth date, admission year and the school they attended. You may also be able to discover their parents’ names, father’s occupation, exam results and any illnesses that led to absence from school.

School Lists & Yearbooks | Ancestry® (
Collections include Oxford University Alumni (1500 – 1886) and Cambridge University Alumni (1261 – 1900), Somerset School Registers 1860 – 1914 and West Yorkshire reformatory School Records 1856 – 1914.

Children at Alverthorpe County Infants School, 1948

Hidden Lives
Hidden Lives Revealed: A Virtual Archive – Children in Care 1881 – 1981
The lives of children in the care of the Waifs and Strays’ Society, later the Children’s Society. The Waifs and Strays’ Society operated nearly 175 children’s homes up to 1918 – although not all at once. Whilst some case studies are included on the site, they have been deliberately anonymised, so you won’t be able to learn about particular ancestor but you will be able to get an idea of where they were and their schooling.

Scottish Archive Network
SCAN Catalogue – welcome (
The catalogue includes records in more than fifty Scottish archives. If any are of interest you can contact the archive concerned to learn how to gain access to them. Some school records are included.

The National Archives
Education history records held by other archives – The National Archives
This research guide gives links to various useful websites, as well as to various public schools eg Eton, Harrow, Rugby and Winchester College, showing what records are available for each school.

Class of children at Saint Austin’s School, Wakefield

Sheffield Indexers
The Sheffield Indexers – Welcome to the Sheffield Indexers School Admissions Index Page
If you’ve ancestors who come from Sheffield, it’s worth looking at this site as there are a number of school admission registers available free of charge which the Sheffield Indexers have transcribed.

Bristol Schools
Bristol Information: Bristol Schools
And if you’ve ancestors from Bristol this website gives you access to records for 613 schools. Some of these records have a limited amount of information about the school and a photograph.

Manchester High School for Girls
Welcome (
The database contains lots of detailed information about the school, founded in 1874, including school magazines and school reports. There are also photographs and many of those shown in the photographs have been identified and their names and other relevant details have been included in the catalogue.    

Family History Friday: Hospital Records

Clayton Hospital, Wakefield from

Last week we looked at finding records of doctors, dentists and nurses. This week we thought we’d concentrate on what hospital records might be out there that could help you in researching your family history.

For most NHS institutions these records will not include individual patient files, but may include less detailed documents, such as admission and discharge papers. Material which include information which could identify patients are not normally accessible to the public until after 100 years. The vast majority of these records are not available digitally and are only available in paper format. Because medical records contain highly confidential material there are strict rules regarding who can access them.

Find My Past
Historical Records – Search all Record Sets |
As you might imagine FMP has digitised a number of records including the South Yorkshire Asylum (Middlewood Hospital) 1872 – 1910, Northampton General Hospital admissions 1774 – 1846 and Portsmouth Hospital records.

Wellcome Library
Accessing our collections | Wellcome Collection
One website that might be worth exploring is that for the Wellcome Library. It looks after thousands of books, journals, manuscripts and drawings. Many of these have been digitised, and copies are freely accessible online. The digital collections cover a wide variety of topics, including mental health, sex and sexual health, genetics, public health, war and 19th-century books.  

Stanley Royd Hospital Grounds, May 1964

Hospital Records Database
The National Archives | Hospital Records Database | Welcome
This database provides information on the existence and location of the records of UK hospitals. There are currently over 2,800 entries, which have been compiled by the Wellcome Library.  However, the Hospital Records database is no longer being updated. The information is still available for inspection and reuse but can no longer guarantee its accuracy. The dataset was last updated in 2012 (many fields may be more out of date than this) and this should be borne in mind when using it – in particular the location of records may have changed. Information includes:
the administrative details of the hospitals, and their status or type
the location and covering dates of administrative and clinical records
the existence of lists, catalogues or other finding aids

Historic Hospital Admissions Records Project
Historic Hospital Admission Records Project (HHARP)
Provides access to 140,213 admission records to four British children’s hospitals: three in London, the Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Evelina and the Alexandra Hip Hospital for Children, and one from Scotland, the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow. Between them the databases cover a period from 1852 to 1921. In addition the case notes of two eminent early paediatricians can be accessed, as can a library of articles and images relating to the four hospitals and to children’s health in Victorian and Edwardian Britain. Family historians and local historians will find a treasure trove of information on families and healthcare in Victorian and Edwardian London and Glasgow.

Lothian Health Services Archives
Family history research at LHSA (
If your ancestor was a patient, nurse, doctor, or other hospital employee, there are a wide variety of records which may help you to find out more about your family, as well as a number of NHS clinical and non-clinical records which date from 1770 and 1594 respectively. There is also a photographic collection (c. 40,000 items).

Family History Friday: Doctors, Nurses and Dentists

Air Raid Precautions nurses during World War II, in Knottingley. From

This week we thought we’d concentrate on occupations in healthcare as there are a number of websites dedicated to the records of practising doctors, dentists and nurses. Next week we’ll focus on hospitals themselves and other institutions that provided healthcare, as well as the wider history of medicine.

Before 1919 records of nurses were kept by the individual nurse training schools, which were mostly attached to the bigger hospitals and the records can often still be found there. However be aware that many records that survive from hospitals have been transferred to local archives.

Ancestry has digitised some of these registers and these can be found at UK & Ireland, Nursing Registers, 1898-1968 | Ancestry®.

In 1921 the General Nursing Councils were established and in 1922 the first register of nurses was published which can also be found at this link. The register will give the nurse’s name (which may be her maiden name) and her registration date and number. If you are fortunate it may also include her home address, place and date of qualification and other personal details.

The Midwives Roll (1904 – 1959) can also be accessed through Ancestry – UK, The Midwives Roll, 1904-1959 | Ancestry® . Further rolls (1872 – 1983) can be found at The National Archives but have not yet been digitised.
The National Archives also has records of nurses and matrons who worked for the Poor Law Unions and in the workhouses, but again, these have not been digitised (Poor Law Commission and successors: Paid Officers Department and Metropolitan Department: Registers of Paid Officers | The National Archives ).

Staff and Patients at Castleford and Normanton District Hospital

The Royal College of Nursing family history page (Family history | Library | Royal College of Nursing ( also provides further suggestions on how to search for records of nurses.

For doctors the Medical Directory lists names and addresses from 1845. By 1858 all doctors had to be registered and their details published in the annual Medical Register. Ancestry has digitised these (1859 – 1959) but be aware that although these registers were published annually Ancestry has chosen to digitise them only every 4 years (UK Medical Registers, 1859-1959 | Ancestry® . Information within them includes the doctor’s name, their address, qualifications and date of registration.

You’ll also find at Ancestry Medical Directories (1845 – 1942) – these list practising and retired doctors in Britain and the British colonies. It was not compulsory for doctors to be listed however (UK & Ireland, Medical Directories, 1845-1942 | Ancestry® ).

West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum nursing staff

The Royal College of Physicians ( Inspiring Physicians | RCP Museum ( ) includes in its website Munk’s Roll of Honour, a series of obituaries or biographies of fellows of the Royal College of Physicians, starting from 1518 to the present day which can be searched easily.

The Royal College of General Practitioners was founded in 1952, and thus holds only limited biographical information about its members. They may be able to confirm membership, or hold an obituary about an early member, but for most ancestors prior to 1952 you will have to seek out sources in other institutions. A very helpful page Researching a Medical Ancestor ( gives useful advice on where to search further.

For medical and dental student registers (1882 – 1937), you’ll need to look at Ancestry (UK, Medical and Dental Students Registers, 1882-1937 | Ancestry® ).

If your ancestor was a dentist then the go-to website is the British Dental Association (Enquiries and research ( ) which has a page giving family historians useful information about how the BDA Dental Museum can help (was-your-ancestor-a-dentist-factsheet.pdf ( )

Family History Friday: Sporting Ancestors

Cricket match at Newmillerdam or Pledwick, dated 1930-1940, from

Sport has played a big part in many people’s lives, whether that’s professionally or as an amateur. Your own ancestor’s records may be limited to school magazines, but if they were good enough to be picked to play for club or county teams, there are museums, archives and websites where you can find out more.

British Newspaper Archive
Home | Search the archive | British Newspaper Archive
Newspapers are a great source of information as they will cover most sports, with both local and national teams reported. Access to this database is free for Wakefield Library members but is only available in a library (so you’ll have to wait until current lockdown restrictions are lifted before you can use this).

Football Club History Database Index (
Many football clubs will have their own website, which will include a history of the club (eg Arsenal, Birmingham City). A website that gives an overall view is Football Club History Database which gives a brief statistical breakdown of the history of football clubs in England, Wales & Scotland. Each club has a separate page within the site, showing year-by-year league performances, accompanied by as full as possible listings of results in major cup competitions. Another website worth investigating is International Football History and Statistics – 11v11

National Football Museum
Family History – (
Based in Manchester the museum holds an extensive archive of FA and Football League records so you can find out when and where your family member was registered and even how many games they played for any league club.

The Home of CricketArchive
This subscription website enables you to chart a player’s career from a junior to an international as it provides access to 700,000 scorecards on 14,000 grounds and details of more than 1.2 million players.

Rugby League
Heritage – Rugby League Cares
This website aims to record, preserve and champion the game’s glorious past and is planning to open a first ever national RL museum in the next few years.

The Collections – British Golf Museum
Tells the fascinating story of British golf, through material dating from the 17th century to the present day. It is the most comprehensive golf collection in Britain, and one of the finest worldwide, celebrating golf from grass roots to international level.

Olympic Games
Olympic Games | Winter Summer Past and Future Olympics
All previous Olympic Games are covered here, including facts and figures from each one.

British Pathe
Newsreels, video, archive, film, footage, stills – British Pathé (
Films from all sorts of sporting events can be viewed here, including the Glasgow Police Sports 1920 – 1929 and the Barnardo Boys Annual House Sports (1914 – 1918) at Epsom.

Family History Friday: Migration Part 2

We promised that we would return to this topic as there are so many websites that may help you in your search.

The Cromarty Emigration Stone, © Copyright Julian Paren and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Scotland’s People
Guides | ScotlandsPeople
Provides access to the Highland and Island Emigration Society passenger lists. The Highland and Island Emigration Society was a voluntary organisation set up in 1852 by private subscription with the aim of alleviating destitution in the Highlands by promoting and assisting emigration. Between 1852 and 1857, the Society assisted 4919 men, women and children to leave western Scotland for Australia. 

Scottish Emigration Database
Introduction | Scottish Emigration Database | The University of Aberdeen (
The Scottish Emigration Database currently contains the records of over 21,000 passengers who embarked at Glasgow and Greenock for non-European ports between 1 January and 30 April 1923, and at other Scottish ports between 1890 and 1960.

Jewish Geneaological Society of Great Britain
Another subscription site, this one includes Jewish migration to and from Great Britain and gives lots of advice about how to research Jewish communities and individuals overseas.

Castle Garden
Castle Garden
Contains and makes available eleven million records of immigrants who arrived at the Port of New York from 1820 – 1892. From August 3, 1855 to April 18, 1890, Castle Garden was America’s first official immigration centre, a pioneering collaboration of New York State and New York City. In 1890, the federal government determined to control all ports of entry and take responsibility for receiving and processing all immigrants to the U.S. The Castle was closed and the reception centre was moved to the U.S. Barge Office which was located on the eastern edge of The Battery waterfront. It operated until the U.S. Office of Immigration opened the newly built Ellis Island in 1892.

Roots Web
Olive Tree Genealogy Extra: Ships Passenger Lists (
Includes a number of ships passenger lists, including Irish Emigration lists 1833 – 1839, English to America 1617 – 1778 and Poor Sent From England to Ireland 1860 – 1862.

Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland
Huguenot Society :: Family History
The Huguenot Society provides a variety of resources that can help those searching for their ancestors: its own publications, substantial collections of family history material in the Huguenot Library and leaflets providing guidance. 

Black Cultural Archives
Black Cultural Archives
Black Cultural Archives is the only national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain.

Families in British India Society
Welcome to the world of British India family history – Families in British India Society (
A wealth of information here, including a database of nearly 2 million names which can be searched for free.

Family History Friday: Migration

The Emigrants (statue), Albert Dock, Liverpool A bronze sculpture by Mark De Graffenried, 2001. 

Whilst we’ve covered tracing your emigrant ancestor fairly recently, migration itself is a huge topic with many websites which will help you to track ancestors’ movements, such as ocean voyages and mass migrations (the highland clearances in Scotland springs to mind).
We’ll return to this topic next week with some more websites for you to try.

The National Archives
A good place to start is with the research guides that the National Archives produce.
Research guides keywords – The National Archives
This link to the A – Z list of research guides allows you to look at guides for emigration, evacuation, immigration, internees, passengers, passport and refugees as well as Certificates of British Citizenship.

Find My Past
Travel & migration |
We don’t seem to have mentioned Find My Past recently but as you’d imagine there is plenty here to refer you to. Use the links sidebar to take you to Passenger Lists leaving the UK (1890 – 1960), the Index to Register of Passport Application (1851 – 1903) and Transatlantic Migration from North America to Britain and Ireland 1858 – 1870.

Immigration & Travel | Ancestry® (
Again, there’s plenty to help you including Passenger Lists and Immigration and Emigration Books. Featured data collections include UK and Ireland Incoming Passenger Lists 1878 – 1960 and Canada Arriving Passenger Lists 1878 – 1960.

Documenting Ireland : Parliament, People and Migration
Several sites have come together to allow you to search across them simultaneously using keywords. These sites include Voices of Migration and Return and the Irish Emigration Database. Between them they allow you to search an archive of documents and sources relating to the history of Ireland and its migration experience from the 18th to the late 20th centuries.

BMD Registers
Non Conformist BMD Register Search | BmdRegisters
This subscription site allows you to search, amongst other registers, Registers of Deaths at sea of British and other nationalities 1875-1888 and Registers of Births at sea of British Nationals 1875-1891.

Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild
Over 20,000 passenger lists can be found here, which have been transcribed by volunteers. We’d recommend that you also look at the Compass section (ISTG – Compass Index Page ( as it attempts to simplify your immigrant research, which, as it says on the site, can often be a confusing and overwhelming task. It lists sites on the internet with passenger lists, regardless of the number of passengers. With each site you are given the ship’s name, the port and date of departure and the port and date of arrival, if known. Then, if something sounds like a possible connection the Compass links to that site where you will find the actual list. You don’t have to go through a number of links to get to a list, only to discover the list you are looking at is not only from the wrong country but perhaps the wrong century.

British Home Children in Canada
From the late 1860s right up to 1948, over 100,000 children of all ages were emigrated right across Canada, from the United Kingdom, to be used as indentured farm workers and domestics. Believed by Canadians to be orphans, only approximately 12 percent truly were. These children were sent to Canada by over 50 organisations. This website will help you to learn more

Child Migrants Trust
Child Migrants Trust
For further information about the history of child migration from the UK. The origins of the scheme go back to 1618 when a hundred children were sent from London to Virginia which is now one of the United States of America. The final party arrived in Australia in 1970. Child migration removed over 130,000 children from the United Kingdom to Canada, New Zealand, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) and Australia.

eBooks and Audiobooks on Libby

Wakefield Libraries will be moving our digital ebooks and audiobooks from RBdigital to the Libby app on 2 March. You will continue to be able to browse, borrow, and enjoy all the same great ebooks and audiobooks you loved in the RBdigital app, now available in Libby from OverDrive.

Transition from RBdigital

If you currently have a book checked out in the RBdigital app, it will be available through the remainder of the lending period, so you can finish your title without disruption or risk of losing your place in the book. Holds will not be moved, but you may export your Transaction History from the RBdigital websites by accessing My Account > Profiles. You can place holds on those titles again in Libby.

Getting Started with Libby

Our library is proud to continue to offer you a wide selection of digital titles for you to access anytime, anywhere through the award-winning Libby app.

All you need to get started in Libby is your device and your library card number. The Libby app is easy to use and will guide you through the setup process and get you connected to our library in just a few minutes. If you have questions, you can find in-app support, or visit the Help site or Libby Academy within the app for assistance.

New to ebooks and audiobooks?

In just a few taps, you can start reading or listening instantly on your phone or tablet. The digital library is available 24/7 without leaving home and is free from our library. Choose from bestsellers, fiction, nonfiction, books for kids, and more. Download the Libby app to get started.

Family History Friday: Nobility and Gentry

East front of Chevet Hall, Sandal from

Let’s be honest, we’d all love to find that we are connected in some way to royalty. But how likely is it that we may have connections to the nobility? Actually it’s probably more likely than you may realise….

Just something to bear in mind – it’s a bit of a generalisation we know, but it’s fair to say that the richer your ancestor was, the more you’ll find out. As usual we’ve a few suggestions of websites for you to try.

Burke’s Peerage
Burke’s Peerage
Begun in 1826 by John Burke this is the “definitive guide to the genealogy and heraldry of the Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Landed Gentry of the United Kingdom”. You will have to subscribe to view all the pages, but there are some sections that you can view for free.

British History Online
British History Online | The core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles (
As well as access to all the Victoria County History guides, which give a wealth of information about landed gentry families, there is other material here which is well worth exploring. The Calendars of State Papers provides information about individual appointments, marriages and inheritance. The Catalogue of Ancient Deeds and Feet of Fines will give you information about the relationships between and within families.
As an added bonus, because of the UK lockdown, the website is making all of their transcribed content free until 30 April 2021.

Lady Kathleen’s sitting room at Chevet Hall, Sandal, 1905

GENUKI: Home page
From the home page, go to the Regional Page Links and click on the county that you are interested in. You’ll find on the list of sub-categories one marked “Nobility” which will direct you onto further sources, for example if looking at the East Riding of Yorkshire you’ll find “The Seats of Nobility, Gentry and Clergy in the East Riding of Yorkshire, 1840.”

Medieval Genealogy
Medieval English genealogy: Links (
The links page gives a wealth of suggested links to databases devoted to the family trees of the nobility and landed gentry.

Society of Genealogists
Start – OPAC Discovery (
The Society has many sources and books that relate to the nobility and landed gentry and the link we’ve given you is to the online library catalogue.

Billiard room at Chevet Hall, Sandal, 1904

The Peerage
Main Page (
As the compiler of this website puts it “The goal of this website is to capture in one place all of the members of the inter-connected families of the British peerage. The site is the result of around 17 years of work”.

Family History Friday: Clergy

Visit of Bishop to Christ Church, Ossett

Many of us may have had clergy in our ancestors. Today we’re concentrating on clergy who were in the Church of England, though the term “clergy” can be used for leaders from any religion.

Clergy of the Church of England
CCEd | Clergy of the Church of England Database (
This database makes available and searchable the principal records of clerical careers from over 50 archives in England and Wales and aims to provide coverage of as many clerical lives as possible, from the Reformation to the mid-nineteenth century. It provides an invaluable research tool for genealogists who want to discover biographical information about individual clergymen.

Crockford’s Clerical Directory
Crockfords – Clerical Directory
As librarians we’d always recommend Crockford’s as your “go-to” source for learning more about Anglican clergy. Though it was first published in 1858 the online version only covers data from 1968, but it does remain the definitive guide to Anglican clergy and churches in the Church of England, the Church of Ireland, the Church in Wales and the Scottish Episcopal Church, with biographies of over 27,000 Anglican clergy.

The Cause papers
The Cause Papers (
This is a searchable catalogue of more than 14,000 cause papers relating to cases heard between 1300 and 1858 in the Church Courts of the diocese of York. The original records are held in the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York. They are an extremely valuable resource for family and local historians as they cover a wide range of cases. The Advanced Search can be used to find clergy including those accused of a breach of faith.

Church of England Record Centre
Church of England Record Centre | LAMBETH PALACE LIBRARY
The core collections date from 1704. The material reflects the evolving organisation of the Church of England, as well covering colonial history and the Anglican Church abroad.The collections also include copies of the records of the contents of over 1,500 individual churches compiled by the NADFAS Church Recorders and extensive photographic collections. CERC also holds detailed care files on 16,000 parish churches, many containing guidebooks, postcards and photographs.

Clergy List of 1897
UK, Clergy List, 1897 | Ancestry® (
Ancestry has a number of different record sets which relate to the clergy including the Clergy List of 1897.

Family History Friday: Engineers and manufacturers’ records

Woodhead and Monroe, Ossett from

If your ancestor worked in engineering and manufacturing, then you’ll tend to find their records in the local record offices. As a quick example Tyne and Wear Archives holds the records of their local ship builders – however be aware that records of workers may not be as comprehensive as the records of the ships that they built.

Ackton Hall Colliery National Union of Miners banner, Featherstone

Trade Union Ancestors
Welcome to Trade Union Ancestors – Trade Union Ancestors
We’ve mentioned this website before as it’s a great website for learning which union your ancestor may have been a member of and for generally finding out more about the trade unions and their history. As nearly 5,000 trade unions existed at different times, there’s a fair chance that your ancestor would have been a member of one.

Modern Records Centre
Our holdings (
The Modern Records Centre is the main British repository for national archives of trade unions and employers’ organisations, and also has strong collections relating to pressure groups, fringe political parties, cycling and the motor industry. The majority of their holdings date from the late 19th century onwards.

The engineer’s pattern making shop at Anson Units, Castleford

Professional & Organisational Directories (
As you might expect, Ancestry has a number of directories and records that might be worth exploring if your ancestor was an engineer including:
Civil Engineer lists 1818 – 1930
Civil Engineer records 1820 – 1930
Civil Engineer photographs 1829 – 1930
Mechanical Engineer records 1847 – 1938
Electrical Engineer lists 1871 – 1930

Tyne and Wear Archives
Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (
Their collections include business records, especially those of important local industries such as shipbuilding, engineering and mining.

Historical Directories of England and Wales
Historical Directories of England & Wales – Special Collections
This free resource provides access to trade and local directories for England and Wales from the 1760s to the 1910s. The collection contains 689 directories, with at least one directory for every English and Welsh county for the 1850s, 1890s and 1910s. Searchable by name, place and occupation this is an essential tool for local, urban and family history. You can find Kelly’s and Pigot’s directories here, as well as those by regional publishers. 

A mine containing equipment made at Sutcliffe Universal Works, Horbury

Durham Mining Museum
Durham Mining Museum – Who’s Who (
Included in this site are lists of members of the North of England Institute of Mining Engineers 1852 – 1910 and the Federated Institution of Mining Engineers 1889 – 1910.

Institution of Structural Engineers
Library services – The Institution of Structural Engineers (
The library holds 27,000 books and reports, 500 standards and 100 journals, covering all aspects of structural engineering.

Students at Whitwood Technical College

Steam Engine Makers’ Society
The Steam Engine Makers’ Society: An Introduction (
The records of the Steam Engine Maker’s Society are a unique source, providing detailed information about many aspects of individual lives from 1835 to the First World War; details concerning unemployment, sickness, aging and migration which are available from no other source. 

Scientific Instrument Makers
Webster Signature Database Search Form (
A repository for information about people who made and signed scientific instruments preserved in collections worldwide.

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